Lost books

You start telling Susan Ramsey about a childhood book you loved and lost, even though all you can remember is the color of the jacket and that the story centered on a troubled romance between Protestant and Catholic teenagers in Northern Ireland.

Before long you’re weeping on her shoulder while she pats your back and hands you a tissue and says, “There, there, tell me all about it, lambie.” Twenty minutes later, just when you’ve dried your tears and polished off the handful of M&Ms she gave you, Ramsey produces the exact book you meant.

Or at least that’s how I imagine things went at the Athena Bookshop in Kalamazoo, where she was the resident book detective until the store closed last fall.

Now she’s willing to field your questions here. She won’t be able to find all of the titles, or even respond to all inquiries, but if you’re hankering for a book you once read, why not ask her about it? Other (NYPL-employed) members of the Ramsey family are standing by to help.

Email your questions to bookdetective [at] maudnewton dot com.


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